The modern workforce has shifted its focus to better work life balance. As a result, businesses are looking to developers to innovate the physical work environment.

In a series of interviews with StoryTrack’s video production team, Clark Machemer, Vice President of The Rockefeller Group, explains how the urban campus is allowing companies to attract and retain top talent, by catering to their professional and personal priorities. And will also allow companies to continue their growth trajectory for the future.

Lori Dowd: What is the driving force behind the innovations in design and engineering for corporate America.

Clark Machemer: There’s a demographic shift that has been occurring across the country. We have talented workforces moving into urban areas. They no longer prefer to be located in Suburbia. They want to be located in creative cultures where they can thrive in the careers and also have fulfilling personal lives.

LD: Describe this Urban Campus concept.

CM: One of the most important factors is choosing a location that will be enticing to talented professionals. With an urban campus, it’s not about just a single building. It’s about the opportunity to have multiple buildings, with various uses, in close proximity. An urban campus provides amenities for that talented work force. You have restaurants, bars, fitness centers, shopping and entertainment, creating a vibrant, authentic live/work neighborhood.

LD: Aside from the surrounding amenities of an urban campus, what is different about the buildings themselves?

CM: I think it’s easy as a developer to put up a pretty rendering and say ‘look at our building.’ But at the end of the day, if it’s not functional space, if it’s not space that can be designed to suit that tenant, it’s really meaningless space. These buildings not only have to look great on the outside and portray a positive image to the rest of the community, but lead to a better quality of work life for the occupants and employees who use the space.

LD: Can you give an example of how you see corporate development responding to this workplace change?

CM: Sure, buildings are changing in tandem with work and work styles. Work space is obviously integrating more technology with data-informed development. But health and wellness are moving center stage. How do we encourage walking and biking? How do we encourage connectivity with nature and one another? I’m always striving for certification in our developments. It’s good for the environment, good for people, and good for business.

LD: What should companies be considering when making their real estate and development decisions today.

CM: They need to be planning for the future. They need to take into account their current needs but also make decisions for where they want to be in 10, 15, 20 years. Any real estate decision that is being made is really for that next generation of employees within a company. And in all reality, just as the workforce of today has evolved, the workforce of tomorrow will be different yet again.

About the Author

Lori Dowd

Lori Dowd is an award-winning filmmaker and founder of StoryTrack Studio. For over 20 years, she has directed and produced programming for a range of corporate, non-profit, online and broadcast partner/client.